Here's a surprise: the House Appropriations Committee has adopted an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would kill the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (or AUMF), which Presidents of both parties have abused in expanding the "war on terror." Kudos to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) for fighting nonstop for the AUMF's death for over 15 years. The amendment could get sifted out in the inevitable conference between competing House and Senate bills, but this is still a big step forward.
Illinois state legislature reforms some of its asset forfeiture procedures. The two big changes are ending the use of probable cause to seize property and repealing the requirement that accused persons put up 10% of the asset seizure's value just to challenge the seizure (after all, should redressing grievances be a pay-to-play game?). Best news? Exactly one legislator voted against the bill, meaning the legislature can override a gubernatorial veto with ease. It's not total repeal, but it is progress.
Eoin Higgins at FAIR provides yet another necessary reminder that obsessing over Russian meddling in the 2016 election is much less important than covering all those other things Mr. Trump is doing or wants to do. Why, it's almost like Mr. Trump wants you to look at Russia instead of all his other dramas! I'll admit I'm a little surprised to find a near-supermajority in one poll saying the "liberal" media's obsession with Russia is "hurting the country," and I wouldn't go quite that far. But would we even be talking about Russian meddling had Bernie Sanders been the Democratic nominee?
Ho hum, the FCC stands ready to smash the last two policies that might preserve what little local media we've got left, namely the "main studio rule," in which media corporations must locate their main offices within the communities they serve, and the repeal of the "UHF discount," so big corporations can, again, own more local media stations. Why? Don't believe the hype about "changing technologies," because literally all FCC Chair Ajit Pai cares about is money. And if Democrats had smarts or guts, they'd be citing these FCC policies as proof that Republicans think rural areas don't deserve local media that serves them and not some corporate media conglomerate.
President Trump's ridiculous "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" has demanded complete voter registration records from all 50 states and plans to make that information public. This is not a case of "what do voters have to hide," because they do actually have something rather valuable to hide -- their personal information -- from unscrupulous people who might steal their identities or attack them at their homes. Again, if Democrats had smarts or guts, they'd call this request "voter intimidation," and then tell the "Commission" what physically impossible thing they might do with their requests.
Finally, we learn from Mark Joseph Stern at Slate that new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's first dissent -- in a case where the Court held that both female partners in a lesbian couple should be named as parents on a birth certificate -- "Has a Huge Factual Error and Terrible, Dishonest Logic." But he was so nice during his confirmation hearings! It's bad when a Supreme Court Justice not only can't agree that Arkansas refused to put both names on the birth certificate, but tells the couple they should have challenged a different law than the one that actually hurt them. Neil Gorsuch should remind you of no one so much as that right-wing kid in your polisci class who wouldn't ever shut his yap.